Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Never Forget Your Dreams - Meyer

Please indulge me while I reminisce about our wonderful summer vacation. In June, my husband finished his first year of teaching after working for almost 30 years as a mechanic. The biggest bonus of this new job is that he has the whole summer off!

We took full advantage of this and traveled for all of July and August visiting our grown children, grandchildren, and many friends we hadn’t been able to see for way too long!

We traveled by motorcycle, tent-camping along the way and cooking our own meals. It’s a pretty cheap way to go and we were able to see a lot of country that way.

A few places really stand out. We did see Mount Rushmore for the first time, but we were much more impressed with the monument to Crazy Horse. It is a work in progress that began in 1947 by Korczak Ziolkowski, a man who was orphaned and grew up in foster homes and was a self-taught sculptor, architect and engineer. The work was commissioned by Chief Standing Horse who said, “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too.”

The monument is of Crazy Horse, a man who witnessed the breaking of a treaty that was made by the US government, a treaty that stated, “As long as rivers run and grass grows and trees bear leaves, Pahu Sapa – the Black Hills of the Dakota – will forever be the sacred land of the Sioux Indians.” Of course this treaty was written before the white man discovered there was gold in them there hills! Crazy Horse was asked in a derisive tone by a white man, “Where are your lands now?” The monument depicts Crazy Horse with his left arm extended, pointing as he answers, “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”

The nine-story-high face of Crazy Horse has been completed and over a period of 60 years, millions of tons of rock have been blasted away from the mountain. The entire project has been run as a nonprofit educational and cultural project with no federal funding whatsoever. There are gift shops, a restaurant, the Native American Cultural center, the Indian Museum of North America and many other interesting displays. Although the sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, died in 1982, his wife, Ruth, and seven of their ten children continue to work on the monument. Korczak’s motto was, “Never Forget Your Dreams”. For more information, you can go to the website: http://www.crazyhorsememorial.org/.

My husband and I were also very impressed with the Sicangu Heritage Center in Mission, South Dakota (heritagecenter@sintegleska.edu ), and I was totally blown away by the number of Native American authors represented at the Sinte Gleska University Bookstore (bookstore@sintegleska.edu), also in Mission, South Dakota.

Another amazing thing we saw was this giant buffalo (named “Mac”) all made out of scrap metal. We were actually stopped on the side of the road taking pictures of the beautiful “bad lands” when we saw “Mac” coming towards us on a flatbed behind a truck with two very friendly people inside. Brett and Tammy Prang, the owners of “Incredible Metal” are a truly incredible couple.

Besides their wonderful artwork, they are cattle ranchers, own an art gallery and also run a cozy little guesthouse. Their other sculptures include this 38 foot cross and a horse sculpture (also made out of scrap metal) that looked so real that the ranch’s horses “hung out” with it (I guess they thought he was the strong silent type). For more photos of Tammy and Brett’s artwork, you can go to http://www.incredible-metal.com/.

And for those of you who are dying to know, we gave the Sturgis bike rally a pass. We’re a bit on the wild side but we’re not that crazy!!

Dorene Meyer


Author of Deep Waters, a compelling contemporary novel that will give you the opportunity to “walk a mile in the shoes” of Gracie, a First Nations residential school survivor, and experience her reconciliation to Sarah, the daughter who had been taken away from her at birth.

1 comment:

Joanna Mallory said...

Sounds like a wonderful adventure, Dorene. Thanks for sharing these vignettes.

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